Vesey Ventures on Thursday announced the close of its $78 million debut fund aimed at helping startups break into the financial services industry and accelerate their growth.
The firm is founded by three former managing directors of Amex Ventures, Dana Eli-Lorch, Lindsay Fitzgerald and Julia Huang. The trio’s goal for Vesey is to give its portfolio companies a competitive edge by offering access to its diverse network at an early stage.
“We identify innovative, actionable business development ideas designed to shape a company’s go-to-market strategy and meaningfully move the needle for them,” Fitzgerald told Banking Dive via email. “We only invest in startups that we believe we can meaningfully support through our experience and our network, both of which are financial services-centric. Any startup that can benefit from that network is fair game.”
Vesey issues a “Strategy Sheet” in addition to every term sheet to each portfolio company, outlining its plan to leverage its network of strategic investors and advisors to act as the startup's first business development team, she said.
“We put the plan on paper, because we deliver. We don’t know of another firm who does this,” she noted.
The firm has a mix of limited partners, including institutional and individual investors, founders of top fintech companies, financial executives and leading financial institutions, according to the co-founder.
The fintech fund likes partnering with corporate venture capitals, which gives its portfolio companies opportunities to partner with a diverse network of investors instead of being siloed, Fitzgerald said.
Typically, the firm likes to invest earlier than corporate VCs and guide the companies to the right partners who can help drive value for them, she said.
Fitzgerald believes the next decade will be defined by incumbents partnering with startups, and Vesey will play an important role in bringing together incumbents and innovators to help founders build companies and transform financial services.
“Early relationships with incumbents are an accelerant for building winning products, achieving product-market fit, and driving rapid customer adoption in fintech,” she said. “By bringing together incumbents and innovators, our firm is structured to help founders bring their vision to life, faster, through equity investments and targeted business development.”
After starting out early last year, Vesey has invested in companies like Coast, Grain, Proper, Cyrus and Equi, the firm said in a statement.
The trio met 10 years ago at Amex’s headquarters on Vesey Street in New York — hence the name Vesey Ventures.
While at Amex, they helped fund several fintechs, including Stripe, Plaid, Trulioo and BioCatch, according to the press release. They also helped establish over 100 partnerships between startups and financial services companies.
Vesey has an Israel connection, since one of its founding members, Eli-Lorch, is based there.
The venture firm wants to continue to explore the country’s growing fintech and cybersecurity space. The founders have been active in the Israeli fintech ecosystem since their Amex days, Fitzgerald said.
It already has two Israeli-based portfolio companies and Fitzgerald claims the firm is the only U.S. fintech fund to have an office in Tel Aviv.
“We’re the only ones who are well positioned to help local startups partner, expand and commercialize in the U.S.,” Fitzgerald said. “Israel continues to be one of the fastest growing tech hubs in the world and serves as a critical market for a number of our focus areas, including early-stage fintech, enterprise software, cybersecurity data and AI. The billions invested in Israeli startups is a testament to the country’s lead in cybersecurity, fintech, enterprise software, AI and data infrastructure.”